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U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA top public institution in nation for least student debt

Monday, September 19, 2016 • Media Contact: UT Arlington Media Relations

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The University of Texas at Arlington has been nationally recognized as being the top public research university for graduating students with the least student debt. Student indebtedness has become the focus of a national conversation and a key issue of the U.S. presidential campaign dialogue.

In its 2017 “Best Colleges” rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked UTA No. 2 in the nation in the national university group for graduating students with the least amount of debt owed for their education.

UTA students collect their diplomas with an average debt of $14,743 – the lowest among any school in Texas, public or private - and the lowest for any public national university in the United States.

Princeton, with an endowment of $22.7 billion, ranked No. 1 for least student debt. At No. 2, UTA was ranked better than its peer Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” or R-1 universities Yale, Harvard, North Carolina State University and the University of California, Berkeley, in getting its students through college owing as little as possible on their loans post-graduation. In all, 125 national universities were ranked in the “Least Debt, Class of 2015” category.

“The University of Texas at Arlington has long led the way in enabling access and excellence at an affordable cost,” said UTA President Vistasp Karbhari. “Our distinguished faculty and dedicated staff are committed to ensuring student success at all levels including through the minimization of the financial burden to obtain a degree.  This ensures that our students can focus on their studies leaving UTA with an education that is second to none.  I’m proud that we are able to demonstrate that the twin goals of access and excellence can be bridged successfully, ensuring a better future for all Texans.”

State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, chairman of the Texas Senate Education Committee, commended UTA for graduating its students with the second lowest debt burden in the nation, an achievement that aligns with the state’s new higher education plan, 60x30TX, which includes the goal that by the year 2030, undergraduate student loan debt will not exceed 60 percent of first-year wages for graduates of Texas public institutions.

“UTA continues to be a leader in providing students access to a high quality education, while also ensuring students graduate with the least amount of debt possible,” Seliger said. “This overarching goal both at the state and national level is important as we continue to look at ways to improve access and affordability to higher education in Texas.” 

Based on data reported to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, UTA had the lowest level of state appropriations at $11,472 per degree compared to the average of $23,611 per degree of the rest of the universities in the research and emerging research categories, emphasizing its ability to provide a top-notch education at a very high level of efficiency focusing on outcomes.   

In compiling its ranking, U.S. News & World Report reviewed graduates of the class of 2015 and surveyed the accompanying debt loads. The data includes loans taken out by students from the colleges, from financial institutions such as banks, and from federal, state and local governments. Loans from parents and other private parties were not factored into the survey.   

UTA’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships offers a wide variety of scholarships, grants, work-study and loan programs to assist with funding the college education of students and families of all income levels. In addition to the Financial Aid Office, UTA provides money management resources through its Student Money Management Center.

“We help students try to steer clear of the landmines that can lead to unmanageable debt,” said Shakeela Hunter, director of the Student Money Management Center. “Our one-on-one counseling sessions, seminars and presentations help educate students on budgeting, saving and credit awareness and these same skills apply when they later enter the workforce.”

Review the complete 2017 “Best Colleges” rankings at

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution of about 55,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at

For more on the UTA Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact, see